Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'd Like a Blog Just Devoted to Reports of How the Common Core is Being Presented to Teachers

Anne commenting to Rachel Levy:

I attended a 2-day Common Core training sponsored by the NC Dept of Ed. In the English Language Arts (ELA) workshop, we were told that one of the GREAT things about the common core was that we no longer should teach entire novels. Snippets and targeted short passages from novels were all we needed to teach ELA concepts. There was an audible, collective gasp from the people in the room. But I was the only one who raised my hand and questioned this pronouncement. And the trainers continued to tout the wonders of using shorter texts.

This is only one example of the Common Core sucking the enjoyment out of reading. How will students engage with short passages?

We were also told that now that we have Common Core writing standards, we can throw writing programs out the window because the writing standards are so specific. No more Lucy Calkins. No more writers' workshop. WHAT? Again, I protested and was shot down.

I realize that i haven't even addressed the accountability issues because we have no assessments that match the Common Core. We have no money for textbooks and yet the Common Core trainers told us that we need to start looking at textbooks that support the Common Core. Surely new assessments and mandatory textbook upgrades are in our very near future.

The trainers did say that the Common Core assessments would involve much more than bubbling. Even at the lowest levels (K-2) the assessments will be "short or long" answer - essay-style. Can you even imagine a 5-year old ESL student taking a test like this? Can you imagine the time involved in this type of standardized testing? I am not by any means saying that we should eliminate all testing. i assess my kids every day - often the assessments are observation and notes. And yes, those assessments are NOT standardized. But they drive my instruction and the support student learning.

Not that this is "Aha! the true meaning of Common Core exposed," but the range of interpretations of what it all means is going to be vast, at least until the tests are out, and I'd love to know the range of what teachers are being told.

In particular, reading long, complex books is clearly something that the supporting CC materials want to encourage, but the standards themselves don't so much, and the tests of course may not at all.

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